Kotik: The Baby Seal.
Angèle Delaunois. Photographs by Fred Bruemmer.
Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.
March 1. Kotik is four days old. Since his birth, brilliant sunshine has been casting millions of blue shadows on the ice pack and making sparkling paths shimmer in the emerald green of the sea. Asleep in his cradle of ice, the baby seal is quite oblivious of the short-lived magic of the light. Belly up, he lies dreaming, with his tummy well filled and his two flipper-arms wrapped around his warm little body. He has changed a lot since he was born. The scrawny new-born lost in his too-large skin has become a plump little whitecoat. His mother's milk is so rich that in just four days he has put on three kilos. You could even say that he is growing right before our eyes.
This third in a series about Arctic animals by Angèle Delaunois tells of the birth, abandonment, and growing independence of little Kotik, a harp seal. Information is set out by date, beginning on February 24, when seals are arriving at ice floes in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to give birth to their young, and ending three and a half months later with Kotik's arrival on the shores of Greenland. We see events through the eyes of the seals: the mother's as she prepares to bear her young, then leaves with the other adults; and Kotik's from the moment of birth, to losing his white coat, and finally learning to survive on his own.
Carol Carver is a Primary Teacher at École Dieppe School in Winnipeg.
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